The Philosophical Apprentice

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” Albert Einstein

Crito’s turn

I read the Crito last night. Nice and short, I enjoyed it and found myself agreeing with most of it. We should never willingly commit injustice. Two things struck me however.

The first is that Socrates seems to display from what I have read so far, a rather strange lack of filial devotion. He’s about to die and he’s calm and tranquil. That’s very heroic and admirable but even if you aren’t afraid to die shouldn’t you be a little sad that you are going to miss out on your children’s lives, their marriages and your future grandchildren? Also, doesn’t Socrates care who is going to provide for his wife and children?  Overall, Socrates probably never cared much for hearth and home. This is likely understandable  since Xanthippe was rumored to have been a shrew. Nietzsche would have said that marriage and philosophy do not mix.

The second thing that struck me was that Athenian democracy after the Peloponnesian war was not something I would want to live in.  Civil strife was common and so were lawsuits. The worst feature seemed to me were the ‘sycophants’ who could bring false charges in order to blackmail innocent victims. Crito refers to them several times and no doubt they were feared. The more I read about the Athenians the less I like them.


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